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The Twins didnt make as big a mistake as | Forum

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sherry2018love Dec 5, 02:26AM
There is no debate that David Ortiz is the best non-tendered free agent signing baseball has ever seen.Big Papi's 14 seasons in Boston, after being cast aside by the Twins, including 482 home runs and three World Series rings. The Red Sox found a gem and scooped up a potential Hall of Famer on what started as a one-year, $1.25 million contract.The logical fallacy that follows from Ortiz having become a legend with the Red Sox is that the Twins made a grievous mistake by cutting ties with him.The worst mistake Terry Ryan ever made was to non- Men's Nolan Ryan Royal Blue Jersey tender David Ortiz, former Twins outfielder Torii Hunter told MLB.com last year. Boston got a diamond in the rough in 2003 and gave him a shot. He led those boys to the World Series championship. David Ortiz turned that franchise around. They might not say it, but I saw it.THE CAST-OFFS: David Ortiz leads list of second-chance starsAside from the fact that Boston won the World Series in 2004, not 2003, Hunter and the rest of the world are wrong about how badly the Twins erred.Minnesota won the American League Central in 2002, and had the following arbitration-eligible players: Jacque Jones coming off a 5.4-WAR season; Doug Mientkiewicz one year removed from finishing 14th Rangers Cool Base Custom Red Jersey in the MVP vote; Hunter himself off a season in which he finished sixth in the MVP balloting; a third baseman in Corey Koskie who was reliably over .800 OPS; and starting shortstop Cristian Guzman, a 4.8 WAR player in 2001 who was had taken a step back but still was only entering his age-25 season.Then there was Ortiz, a nice hitter with some pop entering his age 27 season, but a platoon designated hitter.MORE: Numbers don't lie; David Ortiz crushed the YankeesOrtiz had hit .203/.256/.381 against left-handers in 2002. If you want to fault the Twins for being cheap, thats within your rights, but if you accept that this was a team trying to contend on a shoestring, it made a good amount of sense to prioritize members of the young core with established track records over paying Ortiz somewhere in the $2 million range.The Twins decided that they would be better off spending that money elsewhere, and for $2 million, they got veteran starter Kenny Rogers on a one-year deal. It wound up being Rogers only season from 2002-06 in which he was not worth at least three wins above replacement, instead clocking in at 1.9, but he was a rotation stalwart, racking up 195 innings and trailing only Brad Radke in ERA among the Minnesota starting rotation.At designated hitter in 2003, the Twins employed mostly a combination of Matt LeCroy and Bobby Kielty, and Minnesota DHs combined for a .777 OPS, a 62-point drop from what Ortiz had provided, but also with the flexibility to allow Jones to get occasional at-bats in Jurickson Profar Jersey that spot. Meanwhile, the Twins had the fifth-best OPS in the American League against right-handed pitching at .792, while at .730 they ranked eighth against southpaws. A suming a fairly stable track for Ortiz, keeping him would have added incrementally to strengths while doing little to addre s weakne ses.Ortiz, of course, skyrocketed instead of having a fairly stable track. Dan Szymborski, the proprietor of the ZiPS projection system, was kind enough to run the numbers for Ortiz in 2003 with the Twins, and came up with a .287/.350/.540 line, with 25 home runs and 3.0 WAR. In reality, Ortiz hit .288/.369/.592 in his first year with the Red Sox, with 31 home runs, a 3.3 WAR season.In the subsequent four seasons, ZiPS had Ortiz in Minnesota pegged for WAR figures of 2.9, 2.7, 2.6 and 2.2. In real life, Ortiz instead kept rising, to 4.2, 5.3, 5.7 and 6.4. At that point, he was getting into free agency age, and would have been Ivan Rodriguez Jersey leaving Minnesota anyway, so nothing in the last decade really matters much for calculating how much of a mistake the Twins made. Its also impo sible to factor in how much getting non-tendered by the Twins served to motivate and focus Ortiz you cannot say with certainty that, had he stayed in Minnesota, he would have wound up with a 540-home run career.Its also hard to fault the Twins too much when they continued to win after Ortizs departure. Minnesota finished first in the American League Central in 2003, 2004 and 2006 with rosters shaped by tough but nece sary calculations with a small budget, like letting Ortiz walk. Again, Ortiz would have been gone by the time the 2009 and 2010 Twins won division titles, so its unfair to point to five division titles in eight years after Ortiz left just settle for citing the three out of four.In those three playoff campaigns, the Twins won a total of two games, while Ortiz and the 2004 Red Sox won it all. You can see where that would chafe Hunter, or anyone a sociated with the Twins, but its also hard to say that Ortizs bat, on its own, would have made the difference, especially when you cant say where the Twins would have been without other players who received the money that went to Ortiz.The Twins got it wrong by prioritizing Guzman over Ortiz, but that is a decision Yu Darvish Jersey that plenty of teams would make, picking the younger shortstop who had shown flashes with the bat over the portly, one-dimensional designated hitter who had shown no propensity for hitting left-handers. If you want to blame someone, dont blame Terry Ryan for making what was in a lot of ways, the right baseball choice. Blame Carl Pohlad, the owner of the Twins who got his start as a banker by foreclosing farms during the Depre sion, became a billionaire and ran one of the cheapest operations in sports, for forcing Ryan to make the choice.